Journal 23-SINGAPORE – Tales from the Equatorial Zone
December, 2005

SINGAPORE –Tales from the Equatorial Zone

Makena Condo, Singapore,
LATITUDE: 1º 17’ 52.11’N       LONGITUDE: 103º 53’ 40.95”E

The last half of the year has been busy and exiting for both of us.  In June we
moved to Singapore after Glenys had obtained an excellent job offer with
Watson Wyatt, as Director of Marketing, Asia Pacific.  She arrived in
Singapore, and immediately started looking for accommodations, while Henry
stayed on in Brisbane to prepare the boat for hard storage.  Our plan is to bring
Dreamcatcher to Singapore in the middle of 2006.

Well, Glen found us these great digs in the Makena, a complex which has five
towers (
if you want to take a look from the air, log on to Google Earth, and put
in the coordinates to get a Birdseye view of where we live, or look in the photos
for Journal 2
3).   It is a 3 bedroom, 2 bath condo on the East Coast, and we
have a great view of the ocean from the ninth floor.  This is Henry’s first
experience living in a high rise. It took a couple of weeks to get used to, but now
finds the ninth floor very comfortable. We both enjoy having cocktails on the
balcony, while taking in the view of the shipping anchorage. It’s is like living in a
resort complex, complete with all  amenities : a very large swimming pool,
fitness center, handball courts, tennis courts, picnic/BBQ areas, lots of lawn,
convenience store, and medical offices.

Not having a car since we moved to Singapore has not been a problem and we
don’t intend to buy one.  Transportation is easy and cost a lot less than owning a
car. There are a number of transport options that we use. Glen takes the
Executive shuttle to her office. The bus stops in front of the condo, and takes her
to within one block of the office, in 15 minutes, no stress commuting, and only
costs 3.50 Sing dollars (2.10 US/ $2.60 AUD) If that doesn’t work, then you can
take one of the 27,000 taxis that ride around the country. They’re plentiful out
front of the condo, and rarely do you have to wait more that a minute for a cab to
arrive.  Besides the taxi, there is the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit train system),
along with an extensive bus system. There is even a small shuttle that stops by
the Condo twice an hour, for 6 hours a day, and takes you to the nearby
shopping mall.

Yes, shopping can be a challenge when you don’t have a car. We shop two
ways: One is to go to the mega-market, Carrefour, and when you spend more
than 150.00, your purchase will be delivered to your home the next day. That
works for pre-packed goods. -When we have to get fresh items at the local
Giant Market, you plan the purchase so that it fits into 2 large canvas bags, and
take a cab home.

I’m getting the hang of the system…….it works well.  Do I miss having car?  

Henry plans to write more about the adventures of living in Singapore in our next

From GT’s perspective, it’s great to be back!  Returning to Singapore for me
has been like putting on a pair of comfortable old shoes – easy lah!  We’ve
slotted back into the same social scene I left 7 years ago when HP transferred
me to California, though with less sailing due to many boats being relocated into
the Phuket area.  Friends have welcomed Henry into the fold and we’ve had
some lovely evenings in friends’ backyards, verandahs, boats et al.

The biggest challenge for one GT has been getting back on the corporate
Sitting in an office for 10 hours plus a day is a major change from the cruising
life, reflected in the changing shape of my butt, but also in the changing shape of
my bank balance, the latter of course being positive.  There is something to be
said for that regular cheque!!   The Asia regional job requires travel – the
company operates in 12 countries here, the typical global multi-national model,
so I’ve been busy back in old Hong Kong town, Mumbai India, Jakarta and has
trips pending to Shanghai and Sydney.    All exciting stuff, but it takes me away
from home more than I’d like.  Henry’s been actively looking for work but has not
had the good fortune to land anything yet – hopefully something interesting will
come up in the new year.

We have had the fortune though to be able to get away for a short break: 4 days
in Langkawi, on the coast at the Malaysia/Thai border.  A low key, idyllic spot
with lovely lumpy hills towering up to jungle-covered peaks over 2,000 feet (700
meters).  We dined copiously, slept in, used the deck-chairs and thoroughly
enjoyed the break.  The time off was compliments of two public holidays in the
one week: Deepavali, the Indian festival of light and New Year, and Hari Raya,
the Malay New Year.  Each festival being lunar, they ended up in the same week
this year, on Tuesday and Thursday respectively, so taking the Friday off gave
us the 4 days.  The build-up to those two festivals in Singapore was nothing
short of spectacular!  Lanterns, bazaars, special foods, wonderful clothes, city
decorations, combined to make the place particularly vibrant.  We loved being
part of it.   The mix of Chinese, Malay, Indian and European cultures here brings
a wonderful melee of festivals, foods and dress… next of course is Christmas –
and Singapore (being 70% Christian) is dressed to the hilt is Chrissy decor!  
Following hot on that festival’s heels, of course, is Chinese New Year at the end
of January, so the red & green of Christmas will change to the red and gold
decorations of CNY – it’s a great time to be in town!

Additionally, we were able to take 3 days in Bangkok to help celebrate friend
Jonathon’s 40th birthday with he, Lorraine and other freinds – what a hoot!

We’ve had heaps of visitors already, including both Mum’s, and Henry’s played
host and tour guide.

We miss DREAMCATCHER and our cruising lifestyle, but this “sabbatical” in
Singapore is fun and we look forward to being “boaties” albeit part-time, in 6
Click on link to view   PHOTOS FOR JOURNAL 23
Location and Sail Plan